Movies enhance language-learning program
Hamsa Daher, an Iraq native who grew up speaking Arabic, speaks fluent English with barely a trace of an accent.
She learned English mostly from watching American television shows and movies, rather than taking classes.
Daher — now chief operating officer of Mango Languages, a company that offers self-guided language-learning systems — says watching popular foreign media, like TV and movies, offers a more fun and engaging learning experience.
Mango's newest product — Mango Premiere — is now available through Pittsburgh-area libraries. The program teaches users language, grammar, vocabulary and culture through foreign movies, which run with subtitles. In the “engage” mode, movie viewers can access learning materials, such as commentary about what they are seeing, the culture surrounding the film and explanations about the grammar.
“A very natural way for people to learn foreign language is ... through movies and TV,” says Daher, who moved to America 21 years ago. Her company began in 2007 and is headquartered in Farmington Hills, Mich., near Detroit. “It makes the process a lot more enjoyable.”
The Mango Premiere product is available to the more than 2,700 public and academic libraries nationwide that already offer other Mango Languages programs. In November, dozens invited patrons to try the program. Currently, the program is available for English speakers in Mandarin with the movie “Kung Fu Dunk,” and in Japanese, with the movie “Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge.”
For English as a Second Language learners, they watch the English-speaking movies “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “I'll Believe You.”
Soon, Mango Languages plans to add movies in German, Italian, Russian, French and other languages for English speakers.
The Mango program is interactive and mobile, says Bonnie McCloskey, senior librarian for Carnegie Library. People can use their own computers and devices to watch the movies or take interactive Web-based lessons. You can log on to the Mango program at the library website with an Allegheny County library card.
“It's really fun; it's really cool,” McCloskey says.
Users can go through the movie at their own pace.
“You can regularly pause it, or you can watch it all the way through,” she says.
The Mango program offers an enjoyable way to learn a foreign language, McCloskey says, because it is “info-tainment.”
“I think the idea of learning through media is really appealing,” she says. “The movies are great, because I know people really love learning language because of TV shows.”
Daher says that the Mango movies give viewers a sense of day-to-day culture, along with slang that is common in conversational language.
“When we watched American movies ... that's how we learned about McDonald's and coffee shops and other things,” she says.
Sometimes, it can be hard to set aside time to attend classes or study a foreign language in a traditional way, Daher says. While academic learning is important and classes can be valuable, the Mango system can add a new dimension to learning that easily fits into someone's schedule, she says.
“We're combining education with entertainment to make learning an extension of leisure,” Daher says. “Its just another way of learning languages that overcomes obstacles of time and motivation and make learning fun.”
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7824.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: The series that will define these Pirates
- Steelers’ Timmons looks to reverse defense’s struggles
- Convicted Florida felon kills his 6 grandchildren, daughter, self
- Steelers’ Polamalu relying on smarts as physical skills decline
- Fire ravages 2 buildings in downtown New Kensington
- Pitt star running back Conner adjusting to higher profile this year
- 2 Oakland houses destroyed by fire; none hurt
- Ex-Gateway coach Smith making mark at Penn State
- Pirates hold on to beat Red Sox, complete 3-game sweep at PNC
- Sutersville principal’s comments taken out of context, district claims
- Police: Trooper ambush suspect probably hiding in woods